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‘We’re favourites in Tests too’

Chittagong: Sachin Tendulkar had just finished batting at the indoor nets when Ravi Shastri walked up to him. As the cricket manager explained that he wasn’t reaching to the pitch of the ball, Sachin turned a keen listener. Ten minutes later, he was back at the crease trying to get it right as Shastri kept a close watch.

The seven Test specialists, who arrived Monday, sweated it out even as Cyclone Akash forced an abandonment of the final ODI. Having pocketed the one-day series, the focus is clearly on the need to make a clean sweep in the Tests as well.

Rahul Dravid feels India will start favourites. “Our boys have played a lot of Test cricket and there is a lot of experience. So we expect to do well against them in both the Test matches. Hopefully we can get some good weather and some good wickets and we hope to do really well,” said the Team India captain.

With the weather playing spoilsport, Dravid was clearly disappointed. “When you come and can’t play it’s obviously going to be disappointing, but there’s nothing much we can do about it. I am just hoping that we can play a good Test match starting in two days time.”

Is he satisfied with the result after having lost to Bangladesh in the World Cup' “Part of our goal was to win the series 3-0. Two out of two is as comprehensive as you can get in terms of the number of games we got to play,” said Dravid.

The skies cleared after the match was abandoned. The Indians turned down a Bangladesh Cricket Board offer to play a Twenty20 match on Wednesday.

Dravid felt a few positives have emerged from these games. “The way we came back in the first one-dayer with five wickets down was impressive,” he said. “The partnership between (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni and (Dinesh) Karthik was a huge thing. To win from that situation gave us a lot of confidence.

“I thought the bowling was good, especially in the second game. Both the fast bowlers and spinners bowled well. Gautam Gambhir got a hundred. So there are a few positives that we can take from the two games that we played.”

But what about the drawbacks' “I was not happy with our fielding in the first game. In the next game there was definitely an improvement. You need to keep improving and keep looking to get better...”

Dravid also tried to justify players like Rudra Pratap Singh and Robin Uthappa not getting a match.

“You can’t go on a tour and hope to give everybody an opportunity. You always play your best XI. It’s got to be the right mixture of youth and experience.”

Man of the Series Dhoni is happy to have been successful after failing on debut. “I wanted to do well here. I made my debut here in December 2004 and I didn’t have a good start. I got run out off the very first ball I faced. Obviously I wanted to do something in this series to really prove myself. I am really happy that I was able to fulfil my goal,” he said.

Was it a problem adjusting to the No. 3 spot' “This is a team sport, so it is important to play according to the team’s needs. I am happy to bat anywhere. Whatever opportunity I get, I try to prove myself,” said Dhoni.

He focused on building the innings here, a far cry from his slambang approach. Was it difficult'

“Everything is a bit difficult. You are playing for the team, so you have to adjust according to the situation. If the situation demands that you play with caution then you got to do that. If I am successful and the team wins, it does not matter whether you play fast or slow.”

So how satisfying was the award' “I got it after a long time. The last time I got it was against Sri Lanka and it has been more than a year now so I am very happy. The conditions and situations were also different.”

BILATERAL SERIES SWEEPS

4-0 — vs NZ in India, Dec. 1988 (5th match was washed out)
3-0 — vs SL in India, Sept. 1982
3-0 — vs Zim in India, March 1993
2-0 — vs Pak in India, Oct. 1983 (3rd match was won by India but not given ODI status)
2-0 — vs Eng in Eng, July 1990
2-0 — vs Bangla in Bangladesh, May 2007 (3rd match was washed out)

Compiled by Mohandas Menon

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